News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: Week 6 WR/CB matchups and TE breakdown

Oct 13, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) makes a touchdown catch over Buffalo Bills free safety Jordan Poyer (21) during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

We're on to Week 6! I'll be breaking down the WR/CB matchups all season long with a focus on figuring out who could be facing shadow coverage as well as the best and worst overall situations. We'll also briefly touch on each team's TE group.

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The following tables denote snap rate data by alignment, target share, air yard market share, yards per route run and yards allowed per coverage snap.

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans

Texans Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Will Fuller V 72 184 4.32 2.11 Malcolm Butler 71 190 1.55
R Brandin Cooks 70 183 4.33 1.85 Johnathan Joseph 71 186 4.31 1.52
S Randall Cobb 70 192 4.46 1.71 Chris Jackson 72 186 1.32

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Fuller experience has produced far more good than bad through five weeks despite some fairly unideal matchups:

    • Week 1: 8 receptions-112 yards-0 TD (10 targets)
    • Week 2: 0-0-0 (0)
    • Week 3: 4-54-1 (5)
    • Week 4: 6-108-1 (7)
    • Week 5: 4-58-1 (8)

Will Fuller V has popped off for 4-35-2, 8-113-1 and 5-61-0 receiving lines in his past three games against the Texans’ divisional rival; continue to treat him as an upside WR2 when healthy.

Brandin Cooks hasn’t been nearly as consistent as Fuller, although the fellow speedy, field-stretching talent has played at least 80% of the offense’s snaps in four consecutive games. His 8-161-1 performance in Week 5 demonstrated the sort of upside associated with anyone inside of a Deshaun Watson-led passing game. We know the floor here is low, but Cooks is deserving of boom-or-bust WR3 treatment ahead of this winnable matchup.

Randall Cobb has worked as the clear No. 3 WR behind both Fuller and Cooks. He simply doesn’t possess the same level of fantasy-friendly involvement. On average, a target to Cobb (7.5-yard average target depth) has traveled roughly half the distance through the air as one to Fuller (14.4) or Cooks (13.6). The Titans are hardly the class of the NFL against slot receivers, but Cobb isn’t anything more than a low-ceiling WR5 at the moment.

TE breakdown: Jordan Akins (ankle, concussion) didn’t suit up in Week 4. This enabled Darren Fells to post a season-high 86% snap rate on his way to catching both of his targets for 57 yards and a touchdown. Yes, the 44-yard score was largely due to a busted coverage, but the usage is no joke. Either Akins or Fells would flirt with TE1-level treatment if the other is sidelined; that’s the situation we’re in now. Treat Fells as a top-15 option at the position this week, and don’t be afraid to stream him in DFS and season-long leagues alike.

Titans Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Nick Westbrook 75 215 0.23 Vernon Hargreaves III 70 204 4.5 1.47
R A.J. Brown 72 226 4.49 1.86 Bradley Roby 71 194 4.39 0.76
S Kalif Raymond 68 182 2.94 Eric Murray 71 199 4.49 0.89

Projected shadow matchups: A.J. Brown vs. Bradley Roby

WR/CB breakdown: Ryan Tannehill posted the following target distribution without both Corey Davis (Covid, IR) and Adam Humphries (Covid, IR) on Tuesday night:

AJB WR1 szn is here, and it’s great to see. The talented second-year receiver hadn’t played since Week 1 due to a knee injury, but he caught seven passes for 82 yards and a score in his first game back in action. Yes, regularly matching up with Josh Norman helped matters. Also yes, Brown is the undisputed No. 1 pass-game option in this offense and has further room for growth as he continues to get closer to 100%. He’s anyone’s idea of an upside WR2 (at worst) ahead of this week’s potential smash spot.

Roby is a tough matchup, but he hasn’t exactly dominated this season:

There aren’t enough targets to go around to enable any other wideout in this offense to great heights. Raymond’s status as the offense’s sporadic field-stretching talent makes him the next-best stacking partner from the crew, but he’s still an awfully thin play.

TE breakdown: Smith has posted 4-36-1, 4-84-2, 5-61-0 and 5-40-2 receiving lines this season; he’s locked in as a boom-or-boom TE1 who figures to remain the No. 2 pass-game option in this offense — even once Davis and Humphries return. The overall PPR TE4 through five weeks, Smith deserves to be treated as a top-five option moving forward, regardless of the matchup.

Washington Football Team at New York Giants

Football Team Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Terry McLaurin 72 208 4.35 2.1 James Bradberry 73 212 4.5 1.03
R Dontrelle Inman 75 205 0.66 Ryan Lewis 72 195 1.55
S Isaiah Wright 74 220 0.49 Darnay Holmes 70 198 4.48 1.75

Projected shadow matchups: Terry McLaurin vs. James Bradberry

WR/CB breakdown: The Football Team produced a season-low 4.3-yard average target depth in Week 5. It wasn't a season-low mark for Washington, but for the entire league. Kyle Allen and Alex Smith didn’t seem interested in throwing downfield for one second of their loss to the Rams. Their respective performances certainly didn’t do anything to add credence to Ron Rivera’s decision to bench Dwayne Haskins. Allen (arm) remains the starter if healthy enough to play; just realize everybody in this passing game (other than McLaurin) is well off the fantasy grid.

Continue to go back to the well with McLaurin. His 3-26-0 performance on seven targets was hardly encouraging, although it’s worth remembering that we were having a similar conversation about Washington’s undisputed No. 1 wide receiver last season when the team benched Case Keenum. Ultimately, McLaurin is on pace for 147 targets, and he continues to look like one of the better receivers in the game.

It’d be much easier to project for the stud second-year receiver for more success if he had anything resembling a stable situation under center. Still, we shouldn’t let one (awful) game erase the reality that both Allen (2019 D.J. Moore) and Smith (2017 Tyreek Hill) have recent experience with enabling a high-end fantasy receiver. This 2020 Football Team offense is objectively worse than both the 2019 Panthers and the 2017 Chiefs; just realize they’re going to throw for more than 70 passing yards more weeks than not moving forward, and McLaurin remains the No. 1 most likely recipient of any pass-game usage.

Credit to Bradberry for limiting opposing No. 1 wide receivers in shadow coverage through three weeks:

You’d better have a loaded team to sit McLaurin, regardless of the matchup. Still, the underrated tough spot and uncertainty under center have me treating him as more of a low-end WR2 as opposed to the borderline WR1 he’s been for the first five weeks of the season.

TE breakdown: Logan Thomas has caught 14-of-32 targets for 106 yards and one (busted coverage) touchdown through five weeks. Averaging a putrid 3.3 yards per target, the Football Team’s starting tight end has reached the “Kalen Ballage zone,” where volume is ignored due to absolutely horrendous sustained efficiency. Please don’t start Thomas in fantasy football leagues of all shapes and sizes until we see some sort of sign that this Washington passing game can do anything.

Giants Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Darius Slayton 73 190 4.39 1.84 Kendall Fuller 71 198 0.67
R C.J. Board 73 181 0.75 Ronald Darby 71 193 4.38 1.36
S Golden Tate 70 197 4.42 1.12 Kamren Curl 74 198 4.6 2.36

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Giants have displayed the following target distribution since Sterling Shepard (toe, IR) and Saquon Barkley (knee, IR) were sidelined:

Slayton’s 8-129-0 performance in Week 5 would’ve been bigger if not for a touchdown being overturned on a questionable offensive pass interference call. He’s still anyone’s idea of a boom-or-bust receiver, but at least consistent volume isn’t a concern anymore.

The larger issue for the Giants' offense this week is handling the Football Team’s never-ending supply of monsters on the defensive line. The Giants have faced pressure on a league-high 46.2% of their dropbacks through five weeks. Daniel Jones hasn’t thrown for a score or cleared 250 passing yards since Week 1.

Tate has a horrendous mix of career-low marks in average target depth (6 yards) and yards after the catch per reception (2.6). It’s tough to fully fault any single player for their performance inside of this anemic offense, but either way, Slayton is the only viable fantasy starter in the passing game at the moment. Even then, I’d be cautious in treating him as more than a boom-or-bust WR3.

TE breakdown: Engram scored a rushing touchdown (!) last week and had a touchdown catch on a fake field goal nullified by a ticky-tacky illegal formation penalty. Ultimately, the Giants’ talented tight end has posted 2-9-0, 6-65-0, 3-22-0, 6-35-0 and 1-16-0 receiving lines through five weeks. Engram’s career-low 5.5-yard average target depth hardly seems ideal for a tight end with his sort of athleticism. The schedule has been rough, but it’s tough to treat Engram as more than a borderline TE1. We’re basically just going off reputation alone here, but even the clapper shouldn’t be able to hold down a player of Engram’s caliber for much longer. 

Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings

Falcons Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Olamide Zaccheaus 68 190 1.25 Cameron Dantzler 74 185 4.64 1.87
R Calvin Ridley 73 190 4.43 2.57 Mike Hughes 70 189 4.53 1.3
S Russell Gage 72 184 1.53 Jeff Gladney 72 183 4.48 1.99

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Give Calvin Ridley at least eight targets, and good things will happen. How do I know this? Because this event has occurred 12 times, and the Falcons’ overqualified No. 2 wideout has never busted once:

    • 7 receptions-146 yards-3 TDs
    • 6-71-1
    • 8-93-1
    • 8-105-1
    • 5-88-1
    • 8-143-1
    • 6-85-1
    • 8-91-0
    • 9-130-2
    • 7-109-2
    • 5-110-0
    • 8-136-0

Through five weeks only D.K. Metcalf and Adam Thielen have outscored Ridley. Increased attention from the defense hasn’t made much of a difference. As good as Jaire Alexander was in Week 4, I’d argue Ridley’s goose-egg had far more to do with Matt Ryan’s accuracy issues.

Continue to fire up Ridley as a high-end WR1 ahead of this more-than-winnable matchup.

The Vikings' defense certainly played some good ball during the first half of their Sunday night loss to the Seahawks, but they’ve still been flamed by way too many receivers through five weeks of action.

Olamide Zaccheaus played a full-time 97% snap role in Week 5; I like going back to the well in DFS if Julio Jones (hamstring) remains sidelined. The potential for reaggravation is concerning, but Jones needs to be in fantasy lineups of all shapes and sizes if he’s healthy enough to suit up.

Russell Gage started the season on a tear but has since limped to 2-26-0, 2-22-0 and 2-16-0 performances. There will be better days ahead, although this is a situation where Gage would probably benefit from having Jones on the field to draw away some attention.

Neither of the Falcons’ complementary receivers should be treated as anything more than low-floor WR5 options at best despite this cushy matchup.

TE breakdown: Hayden Hurst has at least five targets in four of five games, but we’ve seen a painfully low floor with 1-1-1 and 2-8-0 performances in Week 3 and 5, respectively. The fantasy TE15 through five weeks, Hurst is outside of the TE1 conversation at the moment against a Vikings defense that is strongest at linebacker and safety.

Vikings Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Justin Jefferson 73 202 4.43 2.77 Isaiah Oliver 72 210 4.5 1.77
R Adam Thielen 74 200 2.38 A.J. Terrell 73 190 4.42 1.13
S Chad Beebe 70 183 0.47 Kendall Sheffield 72 193 2.35

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Through five weeks, only DeAndre Hopkins (109.8 PPR) has been a high-scoring fantasy wide receiver than Adam Thielen (102.9). Thielen is on pace for a 93-1,165-19 line on 141 targets, so it’s fair to assume his scoring might fall off, but the other figures could feasibly rise if the Vikings continue to air the ball out a bit more. A Week 5 matchup against Russell Wilson caused offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak to finally open things up: Kirk Cousins threw 39 passes after failing to reach even 28 pass attempts in a game during Weeks 1-4.

Thielen is locked in as a WR1, while Justin Jefferson continues to deserve upside WR3 treatment (at worst) despite last week’s 3-23-0 effort. The talented rookie finds himself in select company among receivers to average at least 20 yards per deep-ball target (balls thrown at least 20 yards downfield):

This is as condensed of a passing game as you’ll find, and Kirk Cousins’ robust 21% deep-ball rate has afforded both Thielen and Jefferson plenty of fantasy-friendly opportunities. Fire up both with confidence against the league’s seventh-worst defense in PPR per game allowed to opposing wide receivers.

TE breakdown: Irv Smith Jr. caught-4-of-5 targets for 64-scoreless yards in Week 5 after posting a combined 2-14-0 line in Weeks 1-4. The Vikings utilize a ton of two-tight end formations, but things are still split up enough in terms of targets between Kyle Rudolph and Smith to render each as non-viable fantasy options despite their respective high-end ability. An injury to either would put the healthy option firmly in the TE1 conversation.

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins

Jets Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Braxton Berrios 69 190 1.48 Byron Jones 72 205 0.78
R Jeff Smith 73 195 1.12 Xavien Howard 73 192 4.58 1.34
S Jamison Crowder 69 177 4.56 2.75 Nik Needham 72 203 1.52

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Death, taxes and Adam Gase feeding whoever happens to be his slot receiver.

The only wide receiver averaging more PPR points per game than Crowder (22.5) through five weeks is Davante Adams (24.1). I don’t get it, you don’t get it, but we can’t continue to rank Crowder as a whatever WR3 as he continues to post legit top-five production.

The Jets' offense is a dumpster fire. However, inside of that shaky unit stands one man who is immune to Gase’s negative-production hex. That man is Crowder, and he should be fired up as a legit upside WR2 ahead of this week’s winnable matchup. Note that neither Byron Jones nor Xavien Howard makes a habit of spending time in the slot.

I was unaware of Jeff Smith’s existence before Week 4, but he’s posted 95% and 99% snap rates over the past two weeks while demanding 20 targets. I’m not saying you should play him in any form of fantasy football; it’s just wild that the Jets are leaning so heavily on an undrafted former collegiate WR/QB at the moment. Don’t expect it to persist as soon as any of Breshad Perriman (ankle) or Denzel Mims (hamstring, IR) return to action. Obviously, Chris Hogan (ankle) and Braxton Berrios aren’t realistic fantasy options in this offense, either.

TE breakdown: Chris Herndon didn’t start in Week 5 and posted a season-low 42% snap rate. Drops and horrific usage have plagued the popular offseason breakout candidate throughout the season, and he is now is the No. 2 TE in his own offense, behind Ryan Griffin. Neither is on the fantasy radar.

Dolphins Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Preston Williams 76 210 1.26 Blessuan Austin 73 195 1.05
R DeVante Parker 75 216 4.45 2.11 Pierre Desir 73 198 4.59 1.79
S Isaiah Ford 74 189 4.61 1.27 Brian Poole 69 213 1.06

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: There was some concern over Ryan Fitzpatrick’s deep-ball ability going into last week. Overall, he completed just 3-of-8 pass attempts thrown at least 20 yards downfield for 69 scoreless yards in Weeks 1-4. This changed against the 49ers, as the artist known as FitzMagic completed 5-of-6 deep-ball attempts for 199 yards and a pair of scores during the Dolphins’ blowout win.

It’s a shame we don’t have a clearer situation here; FitzMagic was playing some great ball in Week 5 and has another winnable matchup ahead of him.

There’s potential for this to happen again in Week 6 against the Jets’ porous secondary. However, DeVante Parker remains the only recommended start due to sneaky-annoying snap distribution between the wide receiver and tight end rooms alike:

Continue to treat Parker as a rock-solid WR2. Williams made several nice catches last week but ultimately still saw just five targets. It’s tough to see either him or Ford emerge as reliable fantasy options while both are working as part-time players.

TE breakdown: Gesicki had a fun 70-yard catch-and-run moment in Week 5 and finally caught multiple passes after 1-15-1 and 1-15-0 performances in Weeks 4-5. We saw the ceiling in Week 2 (8-130-1), but it’s tough to expect consistent production from anyone other than Parker in this sneaky-crowded passing game. I’d rather throw darts at Williams and Gesicki in DFS as opposed to hoping for a big week in season-long formats, where Gesicki is a boom-or-bust borderline TE1 with this sort of inconsistent usage.

Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers

Bears Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Allen Robinson II 75 211 4.6 2.23 Rasul Douglas 74 209 4.59 0.71
R Darnell Mooney 71 175 4.38 1.19 Donte Jackson 70 180 4.32 1.07
S Anthony Miller 71 190 1.27 Jeremy Chinn 74 211 4.45 0.65

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: A-Rob is on pace for 182 targets and remains the engine of the Bears’ low-efficiency passing game. He's posted 10-123-1, 7-101-1 and 10-90-0 performances with Nick Foles under center. The Bears’ latest starting QB hasn’t looked overwhelmingly great this season, but he’s helped right Robinson’s ship and has him as the PPR WR8 through five weeks of action.

Up next is a Panthers’ secondary that hasn’t exactly shut down opposing No. 1 WRs this season:

Continue to fire up Robinson as a weekly top-10 option at the position.

Mooney (65% snaps in Week 3) continues to work well ahead of Anthony Miller (41%), Javon Wims (27%) and Ted Ginn Jr. (6%). The poor rookie should’ve had a long TD last week, but was missed badly.

He’s had five, nine and five targets, respectively, since Week 3. It's not exactly great, but Mooney remains the favorite to function as the No. 2 pass-game option more weeks than not in this struggling Bears offense. He’s a viable DFS dart throw and could potentially carry more season-long allure if Foles gets a bit more comfortable in better upcoming matchups.

TE breakdown: Jimmy Graham this season: 3-25-1, 1-18-0, 6-60-2, 4-33-0 and 3-33-1. His score in Week 5 was a fantastic one-handed snag in the back of the end zone. He'll be turning 34 in November, so Graham clearly isn’t the same caliber player he was back in the early 2010s with the Saints. Still, the Bears enjoy throwing him the ball anyway, and it remains difficult to match the 6-foot-7 and 265-pound TE in the red zone. Graham is a borderline TE1 in this plus spot; just realize he’s the definition of a TD-dependent option.

Panthers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L D.J. Moore 71 215 4.42 2.18 Jaylon Johnson 72 195 4.5 1.27
R Robby Anderson 75 190 2.97 Kyle Fuller 71 190 4.49 0.82
S Curtis Samuel 71 195 4.31 1.32 Buster Skrine 69 185 1.21

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Moore took a short pass 57 yards to the house in Week 5, showing off some of his breathtaking YAC ability that made fantasy managers fall in love with the Panthers’ stud WR as a rookie in 2018.

Of course, Anderson (8-112-0) commanded a team-high 13 targets and continued to function as the offense’s No. 1 WR. Only Allen Robinson II (56 targets), Amari Cooper (53), DeAndre Hopkins (53) and Stefon Diggs (50) have more targets than Anderson (47) through five weeks. He deserves to be treated as the top-10 fantasy option he’s been all season.

It’s weird that Anderson has emerged as the go-to option while Moore has taken more of a field-stretching role. Still, this 1a/1b situation is condensed enough to yield two fairly high-end fantasy-viable options.

Moore continues to pop up at the top of the air-yard leaderboard — more big days are ahead with this sort of usage.

Teddy Bridgewater and Joe Brady have already exceeded 2020 expectations, Mike Davis is being used more as a check-down option than featured receiver and Samuel is locked in as the clear-cut No. 3 WR. You’d better have a great fantasy football roster to sit Moore this week despite the unideal matchup against the league’s third-most-stingy defense in PPR per game allowed to opposing WRs.

TE breakdown: Ian Thomas (65%) continues to lose plenty of work to Chris Manhertz (49%). Thomas has posted a 5-30-1 line through five weeks and will continue to not be a viable fantasy option unless we see some sort of usage shift from this two-TE committee.

Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars

Lions Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Kenny Golladay 76 213 4.5 2.02 Chris Claybrooks 72 170 2.24
R Marvin Jones Jr. 74 198 0.91 Sidney Jones 72 181 4.47 0.27
S Danny Amendola 71 190 4.58 1.79 Tre Herndon 71 185 1.06

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The return of Golladay in Week 3 seemingly reinvigorated this offense’s downfield approach:

Week 1: 9.3-yard average target depth
Week 2: 8.8
Week 3: 10.2
Week 4: 13.3

Matthew Stafford led the league in average target depth last season and emerged as a high-end fantasy QB thanks in large part to this aggressive mindset. Things haven’t been so smooth to start 2020, although this schedule up until the fantasy playoffs could be exploitable for everyone involved in this passing game:

  • Week 6: Jaguars (No. 18 in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing QBs)
  • Week 7: Falcons (No. 26)
  • Week 8: Colts (No. 7)
  • Week 9: Vikings (No. 28)
  • Week 10: Football Team (No. 2)
  • Week 11: Panthers (No. 6)
  • Week 12: Texans (No. 16)

The Jaguars' defense is all sorts of banged up at the moment. It turns out the backups on a unit that was already among the league’s worst squads aren’t any better. Finally healthy, Golladay should be locked in as a top-10 option at the position ahead of this smash spot. This matchup also benefits Jones, who continues to play a near every-snap role, despite the slow start. I’m treating the Lions’ No. 2 WR as an upside WR3 who should be in more lineups than not this week. Amendola is nothing more than a contrarian DFS-stacking partner with Stafford.

TE breakdown: Hockenson’s usage is moving in the right direction; I like the idea of buying somewhat low on the 2019 draft’s No. 8 overall pick. Sheriff Jesse James remains annoyingly involved, but Hockenson’s snaps and routes alike have gone up anyway over the Lions’ past two games. He’s my TE8 ahead of this salivating matchup.

Jaguars Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L D.J. Chark Jr. 76 198 4.34 1.56 Amani Oruwariye 73 205 4.47 1.08
R Laviska Shenault Jr. 74 220 4.58 1.99 Desmond Trufant 72 190 4.38 1.76
S Keelan Cole 73 194 1.2 Darryl Roberts 72 182 1.24

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Chark (ankle) is banged up and would be replaced in three-WR sets by Chris Conley if ultimately unable to suit up.

The matchup certainly isn’t anything to fear, but the reality that this passing game looked all out of sorts without Chark in Week 3 is troubling. There’s hardly an excess of talent going around in this offense; losing a true alpha No. 1 WR like Chark has more of a negative than positive impact on the offense’s fellow receivers.

Shenault is the only option that should warrant strong fantasy consideration if Chark is ultimately ruled out. The lack of rushing usage in recent weeks has been disappointing, but the Jaguars have continued to feed their second-round pick more and more targets as the season has progressed:

  • Week 1: 3 receptions-37 yards-1 TD (4 targets)
  • Week 2: 3-35-0 (4)
  • Week 3: 5-33-0 (6)
  • Week 4: 5-86-0 (6)
  • Week 5: 7-79-0 (8)

The rookie played a season-high 69% snaps last week and has repeatedly popped off the film in terms of both route-running and after-the-catch ability. 

I’m fine with continuing to treat Chark as an upside WR2 if active; I’d bump Shenault from an upside WR3 to borderline WR2 if the Jaguars’ No. 1 pass-game option is ultimately ruled out. The rookie has looked the part of a true playmaker and is due for a true breakout performance.

TE breakdown: Tyler Eifert (concussion) should be considered questionable for Week 5. James O'Shaughnessy will likely split snaps to some extent with Tyler Davis; neither are realistic fantasy options against the Lions’ No. 2-ranked defense in fewest PPR points per game allowed to the position.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

Browns Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Odell Beckham Jr. 71 198 4.43 1.99 Steven Nelson 71 194 4.49 1.26
R Rashard Higgins 73 198 4.64 1.29 Joe Haden 71 195 4.52 0.97
S Jarvis Landry 71 196 4.77 2.07 Mike Hilton 69 184 2.23

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Baker Mayfield looked great in the first half of Week 5 and racked up 28 passes. The encore was much less encouraging, as he completed just 2-of-9 second-half attempts and threw two picks. The Browns’ play-action-heavy offense has helped get Mayfield out of the pocket, and he’s shown off some of his tantalizing arm strength on deep crossers to both Beckham and Landry. Still, Mayfield continues to battle with volume on a weekly basis, and he’s actually posted career-low numbers in both PFF passing grade and yards per attempt despite the Browns’ positive start to the season.

OBJ remains more of a boom-or-bust option than we’re used to. He boasts top-10 target and air-yard share, but playing inside the league’s most run-heavy offense hasn’t helped. The likes of Travis Fulgham (10-152-1), Darius Slayton (6-102-2), Randall Cobb (4-95-1) and Will Fuller V (4-54-1) have demonstrated that this secondary isn’t one to overly fear; just realize Beckham will likely continue to rotate great and meh weeks as long as 1.) Mayfield continues to function as an average passer at best, and 2.) He sees a relatively mundane 7.8 targets per game.

OBJ (39 targets) has been far more involved than Landry (28), although their production in receptions (21 vs. 21) and receiving yards (294 vs. 279) has been almost identical. We should expect Beckham (3 receiving TDs) to continue to find the end zone more often than Landry (0); OBJ has out-targeted the Browns’ slot WR five-to-zero on targets inside the 10-yard line. Still, it’d be surprising if Landry’s scoreless streak goes much longer, particularly in matchups that don’t present an overwhelmingly positive game script. I’m fine with continuing to treat Landry as a low-ceiling WR3, despite the slow start.

No other receivers are realistic fantasy options in this run-first attack.

TE breakdown: Austin Hooper has posted 5-34-1 and 5-57-0 lines on a combined 17 targets over the past two weeks after failing to see even five pass-game opportunities in a game during Weeks 1-3. Career-low marks in yards per target (5.7) and yards per reception (9) haven’t helped matters, but at least the Browns’ high-priced TE is back on the fantasy grid with this sort of workload. Don’t get carried away, particularly not in this rough matchup, although it’s fair to treat Hooper as more of an upside TE2 than TD-dependent option moving forward.

Steelers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Diontae Johnson 70 183 4.6 1.69 Terrance Mitchell 71 191 4.63 0.9
R Chase Claypool 76 227 4.42 3.53 Denzel Ward 71 190 4.32 0.91
S JuJu Smith-Schuster 73 215 4.54 1.29 Kevin Johnson 72 185 4.52 0.55

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Holy hell, Chase Claypool.

The rookie’s average of 3.53 yards per route run trails only Travis Fulgham (3.8) among all WRs with at least 10 targets this season. Yes, Claypool’s spike in usage in Week 5 was undoubtedly aided by Johnson (back) leaving early. Also yes, he’s been the best WR on the team since Week 1 and isn’t a one-game wonder. Claypool isn’t going to score four times every week, but the offense has gone out of their way to feature him in fantasy-friendly situations. He’s earned borderline WR2 treatment regardless of Johnson’s ultimate status.

It’s muddled behind Claypool. This passing game isn’t the same sort of fantasy-friendly establishment we grew used to seeing for the better part of the last decade. Big Ben continues to largely refrain from consistently testing defense downfield:

  • 2020: 7.0-yard average target depth
  • 2019: 8.1
  • 2018: 8.4
  • 2017: 10.1
  • 2016: 9.6
  • 2015: 10.5
  • 2014: 9.3
  • 2013: 8.9
  • 2012: 8.9
  • 2011: 10.2
  • 2010: 10.5

Roethlisberger has thrown 10 TDs this season and just one interception. His newfound willingness to dink-and-dunk his way down the field is yielding great real-life results. The Steelers are obviously screwed if he gets hurt, so this strategy makes sense.

Still, it’s bad news for the offense’s chances at enabling more than one consistently fantasy-viable WR. Johnson and JuJu seem likely to each function as top-24 options, but the emergence of Claypool throws a wrench into things. I’m treating the former two receivers as upside WR3 options this week. It’d be surprising to see Washington command a large snap share if the unit is at full strength.

TE breakdown: Ebron has posted 3-43-0, 5-52-1 and 5-43-0 lines since his disappointing 1-18-0 effort in Week 1. The Steelers’ TE1 has played at least 75% of the offense’s snaps in three consecutive games. Last week’s smash spot against the Eagles didn’t quite work out, but the Browns’ 27th-ranked defense in PPR points per game allowed to the position represents as good of a rebound spot as any. I’m going back to the well with Ebron in DFS, and he’s earned upside TE2 treatment in season-long formats.

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts

Bengals Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L A.J. Green 76 210 4.48 0.72 Xavier Rhodes 73 218 4.43 1.07
R Tee Higgins 76 215 1.35 Rock Ya-Sin 72 192 4.51 1.1
S Tyler Boyd 74 203 4.58 1.75 Kenny Moore II 69 190 0.83

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Green (hamstring) seems questionable at best for Week 6. Expect Auden Tate and Mike Thomas to form a two-WR committee of sorts to replace the Bengals’ long-time No. 1 WR.

The absence of AJG means that Boyd and Higgins should function as Joe Burrow’s top two pass-game options more weeks than not. The latter receiver probably holds a bit more upside; Higgins ranks 17th among all players in air yards this season. Still, Boyd has a team-high 20% target share through five weeks, and he’ll consistently see better matchups from the friendly confines of the slot.

Boyd has caught at least four passes in every game this season; he’s my 24th-ranked WR this week and that feels a tad low. Treat Higgins as more of a boom-or-bust WR3 until we see this passing game find a bit more consistency. The Colts’ highly ranked defense in most pass defense metrics isn’t quite as intimidating without all-world LB Darius Leonard (groin), but the Bengals’ atrocious offensive line unfortunately limits the overall ceiling of this passing game.

TE breakdown: Drew Sample has posted 1-1-0, 3-47-0 and 2-22-0 lines over the past three weeks since C.J. Uzomah (Achilles, IR) was lost for the season. He’s playing a near every-snap role, but this isn’t a high-end talent as far as receiving ability is concerned. The defensive scheme could enable Sample to some spike weeks, but I could barely squeeze the likely No. 5 pass-game option in this offense into my top-20 rankings at the position this week.

Colts Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Daurice Fountain 74 210 0.88 William Jackson III 72 196 4.37 0.87
R T.Y. Hilton 70 183 4.34 1.66 LeShaun Sims 72 203 4.53 2.12
S Zach Pascal 74 219 4.55 1.04 Darius Phillips 70 190 4.54 0.78

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Hilton posted season-high marks in targets (10) and snap rate (95%) in Week 5. Unfortunately, this week’s spot against the Bengals doesn’t figure to yield the same sort of negative game script; the Colts are presently 8-point favorites and have the sort of run-first mentality that should be put to frequent use against the Bengals’ 31st- and 29th-ranked defense in rushing yards and rushing yards per attempt allowed, respectively.

Philip Rivers looked better in previous weeks than Week 5, but this is hardly a passing game that fantasy managers should be targeting. The Bengals didn’t exactly shut down the likes of D.J. Chark (8-95-2), Greg Ward (8-72-1), Marquise Brown (6-77-1) or Odell Beckham Jr. (4-74-1), but it’s fair to wonder if Hilton is going to see even five targets this week.

I’m fading the entire Colts passing game due to 1.) their exhibited lack of upside, and 2.) the likelihood that Indy spends most of the afternoon with a lead. Happy Jonathan Taylor week?

TE breakdown: Mo Alie-Cox sure looks like the Colts’ best receiving TE. Alas, Jack Doyle (61% snaps in Week 5) and Trey Burton (45%) worked ahead of Alie-Cox (38%) during the Colts’ 32-23 loss to the Browns. Burton has 11 targets over the past two weeks but has totaled just 49 scoreless yards with them. Pass.

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots

Broncos Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L DaeSean Hamilton 73 203 0.36 J.C. Jackson 73 198 4.46 0.86
R Tim Patrick 77 210 1.7 Jason McCourty 71 195 0.52
S Jerry Jeudy 73 192 4.45 2.03 Jonathan Jones 70 190 4.33 1.63

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Drew Lock (shoulder) appears to have a real shot at suiting up on Sunday. He’ll be facing a Patriots secondary expected to be without No. 1 CB Stephon Gilmore (covid).

The Broncos’ target share is condensed with Courtland Sutton (knee, IR), TE Noah Fant (ankle) and Hamler (hamstring) all banged up. Patrick and Jeudy are both viable fantasy options as the clear-cut top-two receivers in this passing game, although it’s probably best to wait until Week 6 (Dolphins) or Week 7 (Chiefs) before thinking too hard about finding a starting spot for them.

Both Patrick and Jeudy have flashed, particularly the rookie when it comes to his route-running ability. Still, a road trip to face Bill Belichick and company is troubling for a passing game in the hands of a second-year QB with seven starts to his name. It would make sense if the Broncos embrace a run-first offense with Lock coming back from a strained rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder; find another passing game to target.

TE breakdown: Jake Butt, Nick Vannett and Andrew Beck are expected to form a committee during Fant’s absence; none are realistic fantasy options.

Patriots Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Damiere Byrd 69 180 1.3 Michael Ojemudia 73 199 4.45 1.24
R N'Keal Harry 74 228 4.53 1.46 Bryce Callahan 69 188 0.8
S Julian Edelman 70 198 2.41 Essang Bassey 70 190 4.46 1.09

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: It’s pretty much impossible to trust anyone involved in this passing game as long as Cam Newton (covid) remains sidelined. Each of Edelman (27 targets), Harry (27) and Byrd (22) have been equally involved in the low-volume passing game. The former receiver was fantastic against the Seahawks, but otherwise has struggled with drops and hasn’t had a consistent full-time role. Edelman is my PPR WR30 without Cam and that feels generous.

Neither Harry nor Byrd are deserving of season-long consideration. The Broncos have been smashed by the likes of Jamison Crowder (7-104-0), Corey Davis (7-101-0), Diontae Johnson (8-92-1), Chase Claypool (3-88-1), Scott Miller (7-81-0) and Jeff Smith (5-64-1) alike this season. It’s not a matchup to fear; the volume is just concerning for everyone involved.

TE breakdown: Ryan Izzo has just eight targets through four weeks. He’s well off the fantasy radar.

Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles

Ravens Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Miles Boykin 76 220 4.42 0.93 Jalen Mills 72 191 4.61 0.43
R Marquise Brown 69 170 2.26 Darius Slay 72 190 4.36 1.02
S Willie Snead IV 71 205 4.62 1.08 Nickell Robey-Coleman 68 180 1.39

Projected shadow matchups: Marquise Brown vs. Darius Slay

WR/CB breakdown: The artist known as Hollywood finally found the end zone in Week 5. Brown boasts top-10 marks at the position in both target share (27%) and air yard sahre (44%). 

This start to the season would’ve been far bigger with a bit better accuracy from Lamar Jackson.

The good news is Brown has overtaken Mark Andrews as the offense’s No. 1 pass-game option and is no longer a boom-or-bust option. The shadow matchup isn’t ideal, but Slay (concussion) isn’t guaranteed to suit up, and the Ravens can avoid him by moving Brown into the slot if they wish.

Brown is my PPR WR19 this week. The rest of the team’s WRs have combined for one game with at least 50 yards this season; none are on the fantasy radar inside of this condensed, run-first offense.

TE breakdown: Nobody has more receiving scores than Andrews (15) dating back to Week 1 of last season. The lack of overall target volume compared to Brown isn’t that big of a deal when you consider Andrews (6) is the only player on the Ravens with more than three targets inside the 20-yard line. He’s a top-three option at the position against an Eagles defense that has been boat-raced by the likes of George Kittle (15-183-1), Tyler Higbee (5-54-1), Logan Thomas (4-37-1) and Eric Ebron (5-43-0) this season.

Eagles Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L John Hightower 74 183 4.43 0.41 Jimmy Smith 74 210 4.42 0.38
R Travis Fulgham 75 215 4.58 3.8 Marcus Peters 72 195 4.53 1.07
S Greg Ward 71 186 1.28 Marlon Humphrey 72 197 4.41 0.97

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Keep an eye on the status of DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and Alshon Jeffery (foot). If they remain sidelined, we can trot out Fulgham as a legit upside WR3. PFF’s leader in yards per route run through five weeks, Fulgham has caught 12 of 15 targets for 209 yards and a pair of scores over the past two weeks. This matchup is horrendous, but volume trumps just about anything in fantasy land, and Fulgham has plenty of it in a passing game that has pretty much only found success when throwing the ball his way in recent weeks.

Hightower is going to catch a deep TD one of these days, and Ward has posted fine-enough 8-72-1, 4-38-0 and 4-26-1 receiving lines over the past three weeks. Ultimately, you shouldn’t be going out of your way to play any receiver against a defense that has allowed just one receiver to clear the century mark since acquiring Marcus Peters halfway through last season. There’s a very real possibility the Ravens' blitz-happy attack dooms this banged-up offensive line from the start.

TE breakdown: Sheesh. Zach Ertz has converted his last 11 targets into five receptions and 15 scoreless yards. The soon to be 30-year-old TE has been vocal about wanting a new contract; it’s fair to wonder if this dissatisfaction is causing some of the issues here. Never an overly-gifted athlete with the ball in his hands, Ertz has looked especially meh this season in his effort to separate as well as pick up yards after the catch. This is a tough week to expect a bounce-back performance, but I’m counting on volume eventually winning out and continuing to rank Ertz inside of the top-eight options at the position.

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Packers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Davante Adams 73 215 4.56 3 Carlton Davis 73 206 4.53 0.86
R Marquez Valdes-Scantling 76 206 4.37 1.78 Jamel Dean 73 206 4.3 0.79
S Darrius Shepherd 71 188 0.57 Sean Murphy-Bunting 72 195 4.42 1.62

Projected shadow matchups: Davante Adams vs. Carlton Davis

WR/CB breakdown: Rodgers made some waves in the media when he noted that a down season for him is a career-best year for others. This is true, although 2020 remains a season out of left field for the Packers’ longtime franchise QB. Rodgers’ 2011 season has been the single-best version of the future Hall of Famer, but he’s posting career-high marks in completion rate (70.5%), TD rate (9.4%), INT rate (0.0%), adjusted yards per attempt (10.6), QB rating (128.4) and PFF passing grade (93.2) alike.

The expected return of Adams should only help matters. There isn’t a CB on the planet capable of hanging with Adams for 60 minutes without safety help, but Davis does deserve credit for limiting both Michael Thomas (3-17-0 on 5 targets) and Allen Robinson (10-90-0 on 16 targets) in his high-profile shadow matchups this season. Whatever; Adams should never leave fantasy’s top-three ranks when healthy.

MVS didn’t step up during Adams’ absence as much as most would hope, although the Packers’ field-stretching WR could feasibly be better off as a complementary option inside of the league’s highest-scoring offense. Like Adams, Valdes-Scantling doesn’t have an easy matchup, but this 2020 version of Rodgers seems capable of overcoming any defense at the moment. I like MVS’s chances of bouncing back this week. He ranks 16th in air yards despite only playing four games; bigger days are ahead with this sort of usage. 

TE breakdown: Figuring out the Green Bay passing game has usually come down to identifying who Rodgers prefers to have on the field. Well, Robert Tonyan clearly qualifies. 2-25-1, 5-50-1 and 6-98-3 performances in Weeks 2-4 drive home this reality, and Tonyan’s snaps have accordingly increased during each of his past three games. Treat fantasy’s overall TE5 as such against 

Buccaneers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Mike Evans 77 231 4.53 1.46 Jaire Alexander 70 196 4.38 0.66
R Scotty Miller 71 174 1.75 Kevin King 75 200 4.43 0.9
S Tyler Johnson 74 200 0.94 Will Redmond 71 186 1.5

Projected shadow matchups: Mike Evans vs. Jaire Alexander

WR/CB breakdown: We need to stop believing anything that coach Bruce Arians says in regards to usage. He noted following Week 1 that he feels bad anytime Evans finishes with fewer than 10 targets; Week 2 was the only time all season that the Buccaneers’ No. 1 WR has reached that mark.

The potential return of Chris Godwin (hamstring) won’t help Evans’ target numbers. Shadow coverage from PFF’s No. 1 graded CB also isn’t ideal.

Don’t get me wrong; Evans is an auto-start commodity in season-long leagues and has the sort of size and contested-catch ability to dominate any given matchup. Still, the ceiling here seemingly isn’t as high as past seasons. It’d make sense if TB12 leans on Evans more as they continue to grow chemistry together; I’m just treating him as more of a mid-tier WR1 than top-three option at the position until we see that happen.

Scotty doesn’t know has disappointed with 2-11-0 and 0-0-0 lines in the two games this season that he had the most attention from the fantasy industry. He’s continued to play between 40-60% of the offense’s snaps on a weekly basis. Evans (434 air yards) doesn’t hold that large of an advantage over Miller (354) when it comes to downfield opportunity. Still, Johnson (4-61-0) was more involved on a per-target and per-snap basis in Week 5. None of the offense’s complementary WRs are worthy of fantasy consideration against the league’s 12th-best defense in fewest PPR per game allowed to the position.

TE breakdown: Gronk is averaging career-low marks in yards per reception (11.7) and yards per target (7). He’ll find the end zone at some point, but this 2020 version of the ex-Patriots TE is clearly a shell of his former self. Gronk is a TD-dependent TE2, particularly as long as Cameron Brate steals targets and snaps alike.

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

Rams Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Josh Reynolds 75 196 4.52 1.66 Jason Verrett 70 188 4.38 0.26
R Robert Woods 72 195 4.51 1.97 Ahkello Witherspoon 74 195 4.45 1.62
S Cooper Kupp 74 208 4.62 2.5 Jamar Taylor 71 192 4.39 3.72

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Scholars debate whether or not Jared Goff will ever throw even 35 passes in a game again. Goff continues to make the most out of his opportunities; this just isn’t an offense that wants to consistently throw, and when they do it’s usually not very far downfield. The Rams’ franchise QB is seven for 10 on passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield for 224 yards and four scores, but only Ryan Tannehill, Daniel Jones and Drew Brees have attempted these sort of passes at a lower rate.

Targets per game for both Woods and Kupp have been in a free fall this season compared to what we saw in past years:

  • 2017: Woods (7.1 targets per game); Kupp (6.3)
  • 2018: Woods (8.1); Kupp (6.9)
  • 2019: Woods (9.3); Kupp (8.4)
  • 2020: Woods (6.2); Kupp (7.2)

Woods has consistently been used more as a rusher; both receivers basically have equal opportunity. Still, the overall opportunity pie is smaller than in recent seasons, leaving both as lower-end WR2s as opposed to the borderline WR1s that we’ve seen for the better part of the 2017-2018 seasons.

Josh Reynolds has been working well ahead of Van Jefferson in recent weeks, but unsurprisingly the field-stretching role in a run-first offense that hasn’t made a habit of throwing deep hasn’t yielded much production. Both complementary options remain well off the 2020 fantasy radar.

TE breakdown: Tyler Higbee (15-166-3 on 17 targets) has been the Rams’ TE1 this season, but Gerald Everett (8-141-0 on 9 targets) has sure looked like the superior talent. Ultimately, Sean McVay and Goff’s assessment of the situation matters far more than whatever myself or any of you reading this think, and Higbee (82% snaps in Week 5) continues to work well ahead of Everett (44%) on a per-rep basis. Credit to Everett for making the most out of his opportunities, but I’m cautiously continuing to fire up Higbee as a low-end TE1, and Everett as more of a dart throw TE2 at best.

49ers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Brandon Aiyuk 73 206 4.5 1.06 Darious Williams 69 187 0.84
R Deebo Samuel 71 214 4.48 1.04 Jalen Ramsey 73 208 4.41 0.53
S Kendrick Bourne 73 203 4.68 1.38 Troy Hill 71 183 4.55 1.29

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Ramsey hasn’t been asked to travel with a single receiver all season; don’t expect this to change against a 49ers offense that makes a habit of moving their receivers all over the field.

The 49ers utilized the following snap rates in Week 5:

Samuel has been unleashed. He emerged as one of the league’s best play-makers as a rookie; only Lamar Jackson had more total broken tackles among all non-RBs. A workload consisting of 5-8 targets and a carry or two per game is further enhanced by the reality that Kyle Shanahan is one of the best play-callers in the league. Samuel needs to be fired up as an upside WR3 moving forward.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Aiyuk serve as more of a clear No. 2 WR than a 1.B option as long as Samuel is healthy, but the rookie deserves credit for making the most out of his opportunities through five weeks of action. For now, I’m treating him as an upside WR4 that could flirt with top-30 status moving forward with more consistent play under center.

Bourne has always been a bit of a TD-dependent option; he’s not a viable fantasy starter when the team’s entire crop of WRs and TEs are healthy.

TE breakdown: Only erratic QB play can limit Kittle. The stud TE caught just four of eight targets for 44-scoreless yards following his Week 4 explosion. Expect better days to come as Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) gets healthier. That time could come as early as this Sunday; Kittle has popped off for 4-100-0, 5-98-1, 9-149-1, 8-103-0 and 5-79-1 receiving lines in his past five matchups against the 49ers’ NFC West rival.

Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills

Chiefs Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Demarcus Robinson 73 203 4.59 0.36 Josh Norman 72 200 4.61 1.26
R Mecole Hardman 70 187 4.33 1.6 Siran Neal 72 206 4.56
S Tyreek Hill 70 185 1.85 Taron Johnson 71 192 4.5 1.91

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Happy Mecole szn everybody. Sammy Watkins (hamstring) is expected to an extended period of action. Hardman has truly been one of the most-efficient WRs the game has seen since entering the league in 2019. This is the moment fantasy managers have been hoping for; Hardman is anyone’s idea of an upside WR3 that should win start/sit questions unless we’re talking about another truly great option.

And then we have Hill, who is the PPR WR6 through five weeks. He’d be the PPR WR2 if the officials hadn’t called a ticky-tacky holding penalty on the below play.

It’s scary to think about what Hill can accomplish against this secondary if Tre’Davious White (back) remains sidelined.

Robinson popped off for a 6-172-2 performance in Week 2 last season. Since then he’s scored twice and cleared 50 yards in a game just once. The Chiefs love his run-blocking ability, and pretty much anybody has some level of fantasy value inside of this offense. Still, it’s hard to treat D-Rob as more than a boom-or-bust WR5 as the offense’s likely No. 5 pass-game option.

TE breakdown: Death, taxes, Kelce functioning as fantasy’s overall TE1. Continue to treat him as such in this smash spot against the Bills’ 31st-ranked defense in fewest PPR per game allowed to the position. Kelce just turned 31 on October 5, but the eighth-year TE has looked as spry as ever and doesn’t seem to be close to falling off despite the physically-demanding nature of the position.

Bills Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Gabriel Davis 75 212 4.54 1.36 Bashaud Breeland 71 195 4.62 0.09
R Stefon Diggs 72 191 4.46 2.64 Charvarius Ward 73 200 1.45
S Cole Beasley 68 174 2.32 Tyrann Mathieu 69 185 4.5 1.08

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Diggs’ 16-game pace is absolutely mesmerizing:

  • 163.2 targets
  • 115.2 receptions
  • 1,628.8 yards
  • 6.4 TDs

One of the league’s most-talented players at the position, Diggs is the PPR WR5 through five weeks of action and should continue to be treated as a high-end option at the position regardless of the matchup. Concern entering 2020 revolved around 1) volume, and 2) Josh Allen’s efficiency. As we saw in Week 5, Diggs (10-106-0 on 16 targets) can continue to overcome dips from the latter variable as long as the former metric stays high.

Brown (calf) is banged up at the moment and uncertain for Sunday. Davis has posted 1-6-1, 4-81-0, 1-26-1 and 5-58-0 lines over the past four weeks. Beasley continues to make the most of his opportunities, although Allen would seemingly rather die than consistently check the ball down. Both are viable DFS-stacking partners, but I’d probably rather look elsewhere in season-long formats.

Gadget-WR Isaiah McKenzie is more involved than your typical No. 4 WR and lowers the ceiling of these complementary options.

TE breakdown: Dawson Knox (calf) should be considered questionable for Monday. Either way, he doesn’t have more than three targets in a game this season and is well off the fantasy grid.

Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys

Cardinals Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L DeAndre Hopkins 73 212 4.57 2.75 Daryl Worley 73 205 4.64 0.82
R Christian Kirk 71 200 4.47 1.18 Trevon Diggs 74 207 1.7
S Larry Fitzgerald 75 218 4.48 0.72 Jourdan Lewis 70 195 4.54 1.03

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Hopkins is the overall PPR WR1 after posting 14-151-0, 6-68-1, 10-137-0, 7-41-0 and 6-131-1 games to start the season. It’s unclear if anyone that walks the Earth can hang with Nuk one-on-one, let alone the Cowboys’ mediocre (to be nice) secondary. Only the Seahawks have allowed more PPR per game to opposing WRs through five weeks.

I mean seriously, what the hell Dallas.

Nuk remains locked in as fantasy’s overall WR1.

It’s tough to feel too good about anyone else. Kirk (5-78-0) was solid last week, but his 59% snap rate was well behind Hopkins (87%) and old-man Fitz (80%). I’m hesitant in expecting consistent production from anybody other than Hopkins as long as Andy Isabella (31%), Trent Sherfield (12%) and KeeSean Johnson (7%) continue to eat into Kirk’s workload. Still, if there’s a week to count on Kirk making the most of his opportunities: this is it.

TE breakdown: Dan Arnold (36% snaps in Week 5) didn’t see a target during the Cardinals’ 30-10 victory over the Jets. 

Cowboys Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Michael Gallup 73 198 4.51 1.53 Dre Kirkpatrick 74 196 4.5 1.47
R Amari Cooper 73 210 4.42 1.96 Patrick Peterson 73 203 4.31 1.28
S CeeDee Lamb 74 191 4.5 2.26 Byron Murphy 71 190 4.55 1.13

Projected shadow matchups: Amari Cooper vs. Patrick Peterson

WR/CB breakdown: Dak Prescott (ankle, IR) is done for the season. Dalton’s target distribution upon taking over halfway through the third quarter against the Giants was as follows:

Perhaps Dalton won’t be zeroing in on Cooper as much as Prescott, although the tough matchup against James Bradberry probably had more to do with the Cowboys’ No. 1 WR not being as involved as usual in Week 5.

Either way, this is an incredibly-talented offense for Dalton to fall into. His best season as a pro occurred in 2015 with A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and a healthy Tyler Eifert at his disposal; this WR room is every bit as talented.

However, even career-best production only yielded Dalton QB11 honors in fantasy points per game in 2015. The soon to be 33-year-old QB is certainly one of the best backup options in the league, but we still have plenty of evidence that Dalton isn’t anything more than an above-average QB at his best. I’d be shocked if the Cowboys don’t take a meaningful step back in their blistering pace and embrace more of a ball-control attack.

Cooper is capable of balling out against post-PEDs PP just fine; each of Terry McLaurin (7-125-1), Emmanuel Sanders (7-112-1) and Michael Thomas (11-112-1) have had their way in shadow matchups with the Cardinals’ long-time No. 1 CB over the past 12 months. Still, the inevitable downgrade under center, combined with potential for fewer opportunities in a likely slower-paced and run-first offense, drops each WR roughly five-10 spots in the ranks.

TE breakdown: The entire upside about Schultz comes down to the reality that he’s a near every-down option inside of one of the league’s best and most-voluminous passing games. Neither of those things are likely to be true moving forward; Schultz is better approached as a high-end TE2 than locked-in TE1 at the moment.

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